Really easy lemon and potato chicken


I just had to blog this dinner today as it was an absolute winner with the whole family last night. I was just going to make another roast chicken seeing as the first one was such a big success, but then Alex chimed in and thought that wasn’t such a good idea. He wanted chicken and rice.

‘You know mum, how about the yummy one with honey and soy sauce and the other stuff you use to make?’

Yep, I do know that one but I haven’t gone to the Asian grocer yet so no soy sauce (and yes you can buy soy sauce at the local store but it is that horrid black and extra salty soy that makes you suck in your sides every time you eat the stuff, I just need to zip down town to an Asian grocer now that holiday season has ended and the shops are open again). Actually while I’m here, I have never, ever heard of an Asian grocer going on holidays. This would have to be the first time I have tried to buy Asian supplies and read a sign on the door stating they are closed for holidays. When in Rome, I suppose!

For some reason, Alex’s question made me think of lemon chicken. This then made me think what else I could make in my teeny, tiny oven. For a meal that took about 10 minutes to throw together, and that was with me breaking down a whole chicken, it is one that everyone must try- Tarsh this is for you and all new mums with babies big and small!

Grab your roasting pan, preheat your oven to 200 degrees and slosh a bit of olive oil in the bottom of the dish. Get your chicken pieces (you can use anything, I used all parts of a whole chicken but seriously thighs, legs, wings, breast anything with the bone in otherwise the meat will dry out before the potatoes are cooked), season them with salt and pepper and toss them in your dish. Thickly slice enough potatoes that will keep your family/friends happy (my family loves potatoes so I usually do 2 medium ones each) and then toss in with chicken and coat well with the oil. Smash about 8 garlic cloves and toss in with chicken; grab one lemon and slice thinly leaving rind on. Add fresh rosemary then give it all a good toss through once more to lightly coat chicken and potatoes with oil (potatoes always cook better when tossed through some olive oil).


Spread it all out evenly in your baking/roasting dish and then add about a 1/3 of a cup of water and pop it in the oven and forget about it for the next 40 odd minutes. Actually it is really hard to forget about because it smells friggin’ awesome! The boys were watching Dr. Who and telling me the smell was driving them crazy and when can we eat already?? So I sat down and had a glass of wine then popped on a pot of beans and carrots in the last 5 minutes of cooking time to go with the chicken. When I poked my head in the window of the toaster…..I mean oven to see it browning up beautifully,  I decided we were good to go!

Seriously, give it a whirl, it is such an easy, tasty dish and the potatoes with the lemon going through them are simply to die for (Max’s words).

PS Don’t forget to drizzle the lemon juices over the chicken and potatoes once you have served it!

Does size matter?


I think I will be forever the queen of small kitchens! Anyone who visited my last apartment in Italy will tell you that it was a TINY kitchen with a tiny fridge and tiny sink and not an ounce of bench space. Our last apartment in Sydney was probably my biggest kitchen I have owned and I did not let that space go unused…that’s right I started up a catering company from home that went gangbusters in the end and I think I was pumping out food for 100 pax each week.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t anything fancy; we lived in a two bedroom apartment in a nice end of town but the building hadn’t been renovated since the construction back in the 1990s. I did manage to get a new oven seeing as the original one from the 90s blew up (that was in fact a god send in the end!).

After working in lots of commercial kitchens around the world and making some of the best food I have ever prepared in tiny, shitty, old and rundown kitchens I am starting to wonder if size really does matter when it comes to food?

Of course I scan pinterest with the best of them ‘liking’ my favourite wooden bench tops, great storage ideas for dreamy kitchens but really, would I be cooking any more with a larger kitchen?  I ask myself this question quite often and I am yet to answer it truthfully.

When I first saw my latest Italian cucina (not quite like the Vogue model in my mind), I was impressed at how modern it looked and extremely excited at the hide away dishwasher on the right. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to lose my dishwasher for a whole year. The first 6 years of married life were without a dishwasher and I wasn’t about to give it up so flippantly let me tell you!

It wasn’t until further inspection that I realised I had none, nope, zippo counter space…..hmmmmm this looked familuar. On further inspection I then realised there was only one cupboard for dry food, a cupboard for the bin, one for our dismal pots and pans collection and last but not least, a cupboard for the drying rack (this is something I really love about Italian kitchens, I think they are so cool!). Yep, back to small kitchens and I can only say small and not tiny because at least this time I have a teeny, tiny oven-thingy to cook in (I had a stove top only in my last Vogue kitchen).

With all that said, I am not sad or angry that I have moved back into prepping on top of the sink or storing my poatoes and onions in the third drawer where the tea towels should rightly belong, no I am actually looking forward to the adventure of what I will produce from this marvellous little cucina and what will be the maximim number of people I can feed from such a tiny oven and cook top…….a challenge I except though must make a note to make more friends with the locals!

The weather had a slight dip last week and took the temperature plunging down to a comfy 31 degrees so I thought it was about time I turned on my ‘oven’ and see if in fact it does work and the thermostat was accurate. What better way than to test it out with a chook (aka chicken for all my non Australian readers). The fennel is fabulous this time of year so I chopped up a couple of fennels into chunky pieces, likewise with a white onion and then smashed a few whole garlic cloves to line the bottom of my baking tray. With the chicken I went out into the garden and picked some lovely marjoram then popped it up into the chook’s cavity with half a lemon and a couple more garlic cloves; gently pierced the skin with the tip of a knife and put some butter under the skin (just in case the oven temp was right off and way too high, I didn’t want a dry bird for my first attempt). Generous amounts of salt and pepper were lovingly rubbed all over the chicken skin with olive oil. It was then placed on top of the fennel and onion and cooked in the oven on 170 for about an hour and a half; finishing off resting for 20 minutes while covered in foil on the stove top.


Potatoes were thrown into the bottom of the oven about half way to see if they would burn or cook and I then held my breath. After about ten minutes the kids were commenting on the yummy smells coming from the house (good sign) and by an hour they were doing the ‘when’s dinner ready, we are starving!!!’ chorus.


The oven works! I managed to cook our first roast without any hiccups and the clean up took all of about 5 minutes- EXCELLENT!!! There will be many more kitchen outbursts, this I can guarantee, however, there may just come a time when I need more bench space…….or should I say a bench?

So far it’s a positive for small kitchens.